Ransomware, Its Types and How to Stay Safe and Remove if Infected


Recently the biggest information security problem for all the companies and law enforcement agencies is ransomware. Companies, small or big and random and even individuals like you and me are not targets of ransomware threats. 

Ransomware has become the largest security threat. This is because most people don’t know how to deal with it and how to protect your database from it. It would be very unlucky for you to fall prey to this cybercrime. But, it is nothing new in the world of technology!

 It is a malware (malicious software that ransomware is a type of ) that uses encryption to  lock all their files, projects, and documents after compromising a system. And in return the owner of the ransomware demands money as ransom. 

Sometimes they copy data and then threaten to post all the data on the internet if not given some ransom. In this scenario, the victim is forced to do as the criminal says otherwise they would lose their important data.

Since the decryption key is unique and known only to the party that affects the systems, the affected users can only wish that they can somehow decrypt this with the help of some decryption keys. Otherwise, they can just start anew. Ransomware is the biggest threat because if even one of the PCs is hacked, the entire server or network is in danger and it won’t take them long to do so.

Read this article till the end to know more about the details of ransomware and why it is bad. You can also find ways to protect your system from ransomware. So, make sure you read till the very end.

Forms of Ransomware and their Meaning

After you are familiar with the concept of ransomware, you got to study its types and how it affects the person/victim. 

There are only two types of ransomware infections, which are:

  • Locker ransomware:

As the name states, this ransomware locks the victim’s computer or device. In this type, you may not be able to gain access to your desktop. Moreover, your mouse and keyboard may also be disabled from the settings, hence you cannot use them. All this is achieved remotely and controlled rom a Command-And-Control Server. 

With this, you may only be able to interact with the ransom demand and fulfill it but you cannot use your device. But, the good news about this form is that you just won’t be able to gain access to the desktop, but all your files are safe and no damage is done to them. The criminal just wants to block you out and stop you from further using it unless the demand is fulfilled. But, they won’t cause any harm to your files!

  • Crypto ransomware:

Just like its name, this type of ransomware encrypts the victim’s important files so that they won’t be able to use them . These files may include photos, your documents, and many more personal stuff. This causes trouble as the victim can only see their files but cannot access them.

The most common crypto threat is that the ransomware attacker put a countdown on the files and unless their demand is compiled, they threaten to delete or illegally post them. As many users don’t have a backup of their files, this makes it easier for the criminals and their threats to have a greater impact. And for that, they are bound to accomplish the demand of ransom.

Effects of Ransomware on Organizations and Businesses

Effects of ransomware infections can be brutal if you don’t have backups. But other than that, there are a lot more effects that you will find below.

  • You can temporarily or permanently lose the data. It will be even harder to recover if it were a company’s data from their database.
  • Your company may have to shut down its operations completely if it can not recover from the ransomware.
  • The biggest problem will be that the company will face a great financial problem that may result in its downfall. 
  • It can damage your company’s reputation, leading to the breakage of trust of the customers.
  • Another problem could be that if you pay a hefty amount of money to the criminal you won’t know if they will be true to their words and return the files unharmed to you, or not.

The difficulty of finding Ransomware Perpetrators

It is hard to find cybercriminals because they use bitcoins, cryptocurrency, or Paysafecard to get the ransom and these ways of transfer of money have no way of tracking them. Due to that, you can never find their location or their identity.

With the mushroom growth of digital currency, it has become easier for ransomware creators to receive ransom payments without any apparent digital or physical trace. 

However, law enforcement agencies have recently been trying to play catch up and have been somewhat successful in getting back some money paid as ransom to digital robbers that created a certain ransomware. 

Working Ransomware Attacks

As it’s stated at the start of the article, ransomware attacks work when the cybercriminal puts a lock or ransomware on the victims’ files by hacking into their device. And in return for the lock to be removed, they ask for the desired amount of ransom. If not paid, then their files may get leaked or deleted with no way of being backed up. To sum it up, the criminal holds the files of the victim hostage until their demands are fulfilled. 

Protection from Ransomware

If you want to know whether or not your device has ransomware and in the future protect it from them, then this is what you need to do. Always remember one thing: you might know all the ways to cure ransomware, but still there are chances of your data being lost. Still, it is better to prevent any future harm from coming towards your device.

  • Make sure that the PC you are using has an antivirus installed in it, and also offers some protection for ransomware.
  • Always keep your software up-to-date so that you can have the best protection service from the companies.
  • Always be careful when using unknown or skeptical websites. Don’t give your personal information to them, especially your email.
  • Always keep a backup of your files and data, since there might be a crack in your security measures. Even the best protected systems are vulnerable to zero day exploits. 
  • Don’t try to open unknown websites, or their links sent by unknown people or spam messages. Beware of malicious attachments from unreliable sources and never open these. 
  • There are a lot of ways of gaining your personal information that leads to ransomware. So, if you happen to see any messages asking for your personal information for any reason like you won a lottery, etc. Do not under any circumstances give your information.
  • If you receive emails that seem suspicious, don’t open them even out of curiosity. They can lead to ransomware.
  • If you see a hard disk anywhere that came from an unknown person, do not try to plug it into your PC to check it. It may have a virus or ransomware that can affect your PC as well. Same goes for USB devices. 

By doing so, you can protect your PC from ransomware easily.

Removing Ransomware

If you are a victim of ransomware, that means that files or data has been encrypted by cybercriminals. If you want to gain access to your files, then you have to pay the ransom they demand. Otherwise, the consequences they told would happen. Like if they said that they will delete your important data, then they will. 

Getting into your device is a piece of cake for cybercriminals. The common route that they use is to infect  your device through malicious websites, ads, and spam messages and similar malware attacks. They can target both the individuals and the company, depending on ransomware victims. If it’s a normal person then they simply encrypt the person, but if they are in any way connected to a company, the entire server is in danger. 

There are about three ways you can remove ransomware from your device. Read below to find out:

·      Detecting Ransomware 

If you think that something seems off with your PC. Like, it suddenly starts showing ads on ads, weird messages, or slowness, then you should check the internet security software for any virus immediately, or enable the antivirus. In this way, you can both detect the ransomware and also stop it from spreading towards other files. Also, make sure that you have enabled automatic backups.

·      Instructions to Remove File Encryption Ransomware

Removing ransomware may seem impossible given the circumstances, but if you think properly and check the threats carefully you may be able to find a way out of this problem in certain cases. If you are unfortunate enough to fall prey to ransomware, here is what you need to do.

Step 1: Disconnect from the internet

Disconnecting from the internet is important as the cybercriminal can only gain access to you through the internet. If there won’t be any internet available, you can be safe from them. Disconnect any of your wired/wireless connections of internet, cloud accounts, or any external hard disks. This will help you to stop the ransomware from spreading and carry out backups for all the files that have been encrypted.

Step 2: Investigate with the internet security software

For this step, you need to turn off your internet so that the criminal doesn’t know what you are up to. Then try contacting your internet security software. You need to do a virus scan using this software and then if there is any virus detected, check for the dangerous files and delete them. These files can be deleted using the antiviruses automatically.

Step 3: Use the decryption tool

If you fall prey to ransomware you can use decryption tools to get rid of this ransomware so that your data can be safe and protected. But the first thing you need is a suitable decryption tool. You need to investigate the ransomware and find the best and latest decryption tool for it.

You can try the ransomware decryption tools from Kaspersky, NoRansomeWare Project, Avast or any other reliable free antivirus provider. Most of them offer free decrypters for ransomware. 

Step 4: Restoring the backup

Most of the users don’t back up their critical data as they think that it is useless or it takes a lot of space, but that is the thing that the criminals take advantage of. Due to this, you cannot clean or restore your data that has been encrypted.

To avoid such situations you need to take regular backups backups and store these externally so that you may recover from this backup. The better way is to use the auto backup services in case you tend to forget to do so. Also, try to use calendars that can remind you to update or restore your backups.

Removing screen-locking Ransomware

If you are a victim of the screen-locking ransomware and cannot do anything about it, then you can do the following.

You need to get into your security settings somehow, for that try to shut down your PC, and then restart it in safe mode. With this, you may have a chance that the ransomware won’t be activated. And, you can easily go to the antivirus program and use it to defeat this malware.

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